The outgoing Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has said the region is recovering from the global financial and economic crisis of 2008-2009.
Tomaz Salomao told SADC leaders at the 2013 SADC Summit of Heads of States and Governments at the Bingu International Conference centre (BICC) in Lilongwe, Malawi that the recovery was however slow.
He said, “On average the region recorded a growth rate of 4.4% in 2012 which is still below the regional target of 7%.”
On investment side, Salomao said the region recorded a total investment of 26% of the GDP in 2012.
“This is a slight improvement from 25% of the GDP, a slight improvement from 25% of GDP recorded in 2011,” he said.
Most of the SADC economies, he said, are still reliant on the export of raw materials hence continuing to be significantly vulnerable to external shocks.
Salomao said this calls for policy measures by SADC and individual member states aimed at diversifying their economies in order to mitigate the effects of external shocks and instability emanating from the global markets.
“It is in this context that your council of ministers approved the SADC Industrial development Framework as an important tool to address these challenges in an innovative and programmatic manner,” he said.
Salomao encouraged SADC states to take advantage of the good prospects existing in the agricultural state to invest more in order to capture the gains that will accrue with time.
Continued global demand for food will be on the increase for another 40 years as indicated and confirmed by different studies.
“It is thus imperative to boost investment both public and private in this sector.
Despite the challenging environment globally, member states continue to carry out reforms in order to improve their investment and business climate so as to attain a better performance in the global competitiveness index,” said Salomao.
Meanwhile, Salomao’s reign as the Executive Secretary of SADC ended at the summit when he handed over to Malawi’s Chief Justice Anastasia Msosa.